How Many Pringles Are Really in a Can? – From Chip Count to Packaging

Known for their unique saddle-shaped design, Pringles have become a popular snack in more than 140 countries. As of 2012, they were the fourth most popular snack brand globally.

The unique packaging and shape of Pringles have always sparked curiosity among consumers. I’m sure you too have wondered about the actual number of chips in a can and how it compares to traditional bagged chips.

The tubular can design, coupled with the hyperbolic paraboloid shape of the chips, makes counting them an interesting challenge.

The Pringles Can Conundrum

pringles cans

The design of Pringles cans was a result of a task assigned to chemist Fredric J. Baur by P&G in 1956. The goal was to create a chip that would address common complaints about traditional potato chips, such as breakage and greasiness. After two years of development, the saddle-shaped chips and tubular can were born.

The can is designed to hold the chips in place and keep them fresh. However, the air-to-chip ratio in the can has led to debates and misconceptions about the actual quantity of chips. The presence of air is essential for preserving the quality of the chips, but it may also create a perception of less content.

Consumer expectations often differ from reality when it comes to the number of chips in a can. While the can’s design ensures minimal breakage and maintains freshness, it also leads to misunderstandings about the actual quantity.

Counting the Chips: The Experiment

pringles eat

To accurately determine the number of Pringles in a can, a systematic counting experiment can be conducted. This involves selecting a sample size of cans from different sizes and regions, and then carefully counting the chips in each can.

The sample size must be large enough to account for variations in can sizes and potential breakage. Different sizes of cans (small, medium, large) and regional variations may affect the chip count, requiring a diverse sample for accurate results.

The unique stacking design of Pringles allows for a consistent arrangement of chips, but breakage can still occur. The experiment must consider the impact of stacking and breakage on the final count to provide a realistic and representative figure.

Fun Fact: Did you know that the saddle-shape of Pringles chips is mathematically known as a hyperbolic paraboloid? This shape was part of the original design to address consumer complaints about traditional chips.

So How Many Chips Are Usually in a Can?

pringles can

The question of how many chips are in a can has been a subject of debate and curiosity. A hands-on experiment conducted by a Pringles enthusiast revealed that the standard online answer of “about 100” chips per can is incorrect.

Can Type Number of Chips
Original (Can 1) 79
Original (Can 2) 79
Original (Can 3) 78

Conservatively speaking, the average can of Pringles does indeed contain about 80 chips, just like the nutrition facts say it does.

The experiment focused on the standard size of Pringles cans. However, Pringles are available in various sizes, and the chip count may vary accordingly. Further research and experimentation would be required to determine the exact number of chips in small, medium, and large cans.

The experiment did not account for potential regional variations in Pringles cans. Different markets may have different packaging sizes and chip counts, adding another layer of complexity to the question.

Pro Tip: If you’re curious about flavored Pringles, the experiment found that a can of sour cream and onion chips and a can of pizza-flavored chips had 82 chips per can, three more than the Original cans.

The Environmental Impact

The packaging of Pringles cans has raised environmental concerns due to the combination of materials used, including metal, paper, and plastic. This mix can make recycling more challenging.

Consumers play a vital role in recycling Pringles cans responsibly. Understanding the materials used in the packaging and following local recycling guidelines can contribute to reducing waste.

Fun Fact: Pringles are only 42% potato, and the rest is dough made from corn flour and other ingredients. That’s why they can’t legally be called “chips” in the U.S.

Creative Ways to Use Empty Pringles Cans

pringles pencil

Empty Pringles cans offer a world of creative possibilities for those who love DIY projects. Here are some innovative ways to repurpose them:

  • Pencil Holder: Decorate the outside of the can with colorful paper or fabric and use it as a stylish pencil holder on your desk.
  • Bird Feeder: Cut openings in the can and fill it with birdseed. Hang it in your garden to attract feathered friends.
  • Cookie Storage: The airtight seal of a Pringles can make it perfect for storing homemade cookies and keeping them fresh.

Pro Tip: Always clean the inside of the can thoroughly before using it for food storage or bird feeding to ensure it’s free from oil and crumbs.

Pringles cans can be transformed into handy storage solutions or artistic creations. Here are some DIY project ideas:

  • Candle Holder: Cut decorative patterns into the can and place a candle inside for a beautiful lantern effect.
  • Travel-Sized Storage: Use the can to store small items like hair ties, bobby pins, or sewing supplies while traveling.
  • Plant Pot: Cut the can to the desired height and use it as a temporary pot for small plants or seedlings.


Why do Pringles cans look bigger than they actually are?

The design of cans may create a perception of more content due to the air-to-chip ratio. The air is essential for preserving quality but may lead to misunderstandings about quantity.

How accurate is the average chip count in the experiment?

The average chip count of 80 in a standard can of Pringles is based on a hands-on experiment. Variations may occur in different sizes or flavors.

Are there any regional differences in the number of Pringles in a can?

Regional variations may exist, but further research is required to provide specific details.

Do other snack brands use similar packaging strategies?

Some snack brands may use similar packaging strategies, but Pringles’ unique saddle shape and tubular can are distinctive.

How can I recycle my Pringles cans responsibly?

Recycling Pringles cans requires understanding the materials used and following local recycling guidelines.


The Pringles can, with its unique design and packaging, has intrigued consumers for decades. From the curiosity surrounding the number of chips in a can to the creative ways to repurpose empty containers, Pringles continues to be a fascinating subject.

The brand’s commitment to quality, taste, and convenience has made it a global favorite, while also raising questions about sustainability and environmental impact. The can is more than just a trivial pursuit; it’s a reflection of consumer behavior, marketing strategies, and societal trends.

Whether enjoying a can of your favorite flavor or crafting a DIY project with an empty container, Pringles offers more than just a tasty snack—it’s a symbol of innovation and creativity in the snack industry.